A close aide to Jose Mourinho has suggested that Paul Pogba was brought to Manchester United for commercial reasons, and not because the Portuguese was a fan.
Eladio Parames has known Mourinho since a young age and worked as the Special One's press officer during his early days in management at Benfica.
The 69-year-old claims that Pogba was not brought to Old Trafford by Mourinho in 2016, while also alleging that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward snubbed Mourinho's plea to sign a midfielder in the mould of N'Golo Kante earlier this year.
Comparing World Cup winner Pogba to Mario Balotelli, Parames told Portuguese outlet Record: "It's no coincidence that both have already been severely criticised by several coaches. Of course some will ask whether the person who hired them did not know what their personalities were like.
"Yes is the answer, but sometimes there are reasons beyond sports that lead the clubs, and not always the coaches, to gamble on hiring them. Pogba, for example, is worth a lot in the advertising market, so much so that in just six months Manchester United had already recovered what they had invested in him.
"However, without 'terriers' like [Blaise] Matuidi and Kante at his side, he is worth virtually nothing on the field. Man United did not give Mourinho 'terriers' despite advice given to Woodward last summer. And as a result, we had to see Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay acting as central defenders against Southampton.
"And Mourinho had to watch as Pogba became the player who most often lost the ball and was dispossessed, in a single game, in all Premier League matches this season. A great record!"
Pogba has featured for just 15 minutes in United's last two matches.